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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 25, Number 5, Page 729 (1981)
25th Anniversary Issue
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IBM Typewriter Innovation

by H. S. Beattie, R. A. Rahenkamp
The evolution of the writing machine from early eighteenth-century concepts to the modern electronic typewriter represents a rich history of innovative efforts by many individuals in several countries. This paper briefly highlights several significant early milestones and then draws particular attention to typewriter developments within the IBM Corporation. After entering the typewriter business in 1933, IBM expanded the applicability of electric typebar machines and introduced proportional spacing to electric typewriters. The IBM SELECTRIC® Typewriter single-print-element concept represented a major departure from traditional typewriter design. Since the introduction of the SELECTRIC Typewriter, it has evolved in several directions that resulted in the following: a typewriter to produce high-quality printing for cold-type composing applications; an input/output writer for use in terminals, computer consoles, and word processing machines; a typewriter that can correct errors by mechanically removing them from the page or covering them up; and electronic typewriters, using microcircuitry, that provide more memory and computing power than some early computers.
Related Subjects: Mechanics and mechanisms; Office machines and systems; Printing technology